Actually, given we meet Kvothe at the end of his journey as a broken man, I'd say Rothfuss is trying to write a Mary Sue deconstruction. Agree with you about the lack of strong female characters though.
Daniel BensenTo jewelleddragon, I agree completely. If the Name of the Wind is a Mary Sue Deconstruction, it's a very subtle one.
I squeeze gats.This series has me guessing. Half the time it appears to be a deconstruction of Mary Suedom. As in: here is what happens to a Mary Sue in real life. He's a loser sitting in a bar waiting to die. The other half has me worrying the 3rd book will end with the Mary Sue triumphant. As in, Pat really means this to end up as a heroic fantasy with a bit of meta-critique on the genre as a whole sprinkled throughout. There's some conscious trope aversion and subversion and inversion going on, that much is plain. If Doors of Stone ends happily for Kvothe, I just don't know what I'll do. Pat does appear to be aware of just how much of a jerkface Kvothe is. At least, I hope so. First book we have Ben wondering if he's raising another Lanre. What Kvothe does to Pike in Tarbean is just as bad as what Pike did unto Kvothe and our main character expresses no remorse. In the second book he tells a Rue fable to his friends that contains racist stereotypes that apply to them and then blows them off when they get offended. He rolls his eyes at Simon when his friend gets upset that he's defending mass murder. The list. Goes. On. To quote Jo Walton in her re-read:
Susan used the word “Dickensian” about the Tarbean sections last week, and I am reminded of Orwell’s comment on Dickens—that Dickens realises that a sensitive boy like David shouldn’t have to work in a factory, but he doesn’t realise that no boy should have to. Kvothe has compassion for the boy caught by the gang, but not for Pike, though Pike is a victim of the system just as much as Kvothe. Rothfuss sees it—he gives Pike the violets that Kvothe burns. Kvothe doesn’t.Source: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/05/rothfuss-reread-the-name-of-the-wind-part-5-too-much-truth-confuses-the-facts I worry Jo's wrong about Pat Rothfuss. That he really doesn't see it. That he feels Kvothe is right most of the time and can do no wrong, minus some roguish and "charming" rudeness.
edited 1st Aug '11 11:50:24 PM by MildGuy
Also known as KatzI'm still not seeing any good evidence that Rothfuss recognizes many of the negative traits he gives Kvothe as flaws. Traits like arrogance too often go unacknowledged by the plot, the other characters, and the narration. If Kvothe never suffers negative effects from it, nobody else acts or remarks negatively about it, and he himself doesn't think there's anything wrong with it, how can we tell whether Rothfuss was trying to make Kvothe overly proud or trying to make him correctly judging his tremendous awesomeness?
I squeeze gats.^ I very much share you apprehensions. But quite a few characters (okay, just a few) do display negative reactions to his jerkassness. And what's most important, a number of characters who disagree with him and try to point out his faults are not portrayed as 1-dimensional straw men bullies for daring to disagree with the precious ginger bastard. Elodin is chief amongst these, along with the other professors who aren't Hem (or whatever is name is), and Devi, who owned his ass. But then maybe I'm seeing only what I want to see. What gives me hope. Because I think you're right in that Pat isn't consistent with how the world reacts to Kvothe. And that gives me reason for concern.
I'm just hoping that the sections where he seems the most Mary Sueish (the Felurian, even the Adem) come back to bite him in the ass later.
I squeeze gats.I'm hoping book 3 will be like a house of cards falling. All the consequences and repercussions start raining down on him like a boxer beating a bag of sand.
Yeah, that's exactly where I see it heading too- how else will he end up broken and waiting to die in some godforsaken corner of the earth.
Also known as KatzOK, if book 3 comes out and it's an epic-scale tragedy where everything goes wrong and it's all his fault, that would indeed redeem the whole thing. But it has to be as a consequence of the things he did in books 1 and 2, and it's hard to see how that would happen.
I squeeze gats.^Let me put it this way. I bought hard covers for books 1 and 2. They're both signed. I will be renting book 3 from the library or buying it second hand. Because I do not want Pat to have my money if it blows chunks. Petty? Yes. Futile? Certainly. But I'll sleep easier that way. If he does win me over, I'll buy it for reals later.
amazingI honestly don't see the Suishness with Kvothe. I'm haven't quite finished the second book yet, but really, I don't see it. He seems to me like a character given all these excellent traits but ends up as a failure. I mean, c'mon. He ends up in a bar in the middle of nowhere, with only Bast as company. He can't even do sympathy right anymore, by the point I've read. It seems to really be setting Kvothe up as more of a fallen hero than anything. We're also only seeing part of the story. We see things from Kvothe's perspective (which is bound to put him in at least a bit of a favorable light) and from a third-person perspective where everything has happened already. I'm also fairly certain Kvothe has spread an unpleasant amount of chaos, at least considering what Bast says about the Cthaeh.
edited 27th Sep '11 3:17:57 PM by Kaza999
Conspiracies, those are the first things I think of.
Vikings125 pages (paperback). Hooly crap. This was the first book in a long time I looked at and went "why am I reading this?" It's super slow, has absurd amounts of boring minutia, the magic seems uninteresting, and the framing device means that the potentially interesting spider demons aren't going to be elaborated on for hundreds of pages. I'm just not having any fun at all.
Uh the fundamental spirit of cooperation and unity that drives the human race is unconfirmed to be more efficient than random computer input
I saw a cover for A Wise Man's Fear the other day. It showed Kvothe in ninja-like attire, wielding a katana wreathed in lightning. Trying too hard, much?
Not An AvatarWell, the book itself came pretty close to this, didn't it?
We're not just men of science, we're men of TROPE!
I just started reading the first book, and honestly it does NOT remind me of Harry Potter, which is a point in it's favor. If anything, it reminds me of Amadeus, but have Mozart(Kvothe) telling the story instead of Salieri. While Kvothe is a bit too proud of himself in his narration, it's balanced by the fact that in the present day Kvothe is a depressed wreck. On this I think of Frodo at the end of Lord of the Rings, that while the ring was destroyed, he was convinced he failed Middle Earth. So part of what keeps me reading is I'm curious as to what Kvothe's Mount Doom is that made him go into hiding.
edited 29th Oct '12 1:21:33 PM by SoloWingPixy
Not An AvatarJo Walton's rereads are a must-read for understanding what's going on in the story and the world. The commenters there have found some amazing hidden clues to various mysteries, and it's impressed me just how detailed Rothfuss's writing is. The rereads have spoilers for both books, though.
We're not just men of science, we're men of TROPE!
antic dispositionI finished reading this not too long ago. I thought it was quite readable, but nothing special. Some of the secondary characters are quite interesting - Elodin and Bast in particular - so I'll probably continue reading it just for those characters. Especially Bast. "I'll string a fiddle with your guts and make you play it while I dance" is a great line.
"Doctor Who means never having to say you're kidding." - Bocaj
This is a bit late, but some of the opinions I'm seeing here make me pretty sad. I always knew that the internet was oversensitive to Mary-Sue accusations, but we're stretching the definition, here. The biggest defining point of the Mary-Sue is thus: Does the universe bend for them? If it doesn't, and if the character makes mistakes, then what we're dealing with is not a Mary-Sue. I've met people like Kvothe, they're real. He's a prodigy, and is exceptional at most of the things he tries. This isn't a magical impossible thing, it happens in real life. What we're also ignoring, when we call Kvothe a sue, is how many times he almost gets himself killed. Half of the "heroic" things he does are stupid at best, retarded at worst. Most of the "dangerous" situations throughout the series are ones that he gets himself into. Also, Kvothe's infatuation with Denna is simple: She was the first girl he ever connected with. He was a poor kid with no friends, and he talked to her and got along with her. If you aren't aware immediately by reading: young Kvothe (and occasionally old Kvothe) wears his emotions on his sleeve. It's part of the reason why he's so impulsive. He fell in love with her when he was a kid, and he can't let it go. His obsession with her is idealized to the point that he may not even see who she really is anymore. (Years later, Bast still has to remind him that she had a hook-nose.) Personally, I think that there are a LOT of interesting female characters, but they show up later on. Unfortunately, the story follows Kvothe, and he spent most of his early life away from women. Devi, in particular, fascinates me. Personally, this is one of my favorite books, but to each his own.
I think some of the reasons for Mary Sue might relate to writing advice I have heard: people are willing to accept the impossible, but not the improbable when it comes to books. So, if Kvothe is a multi-prodigy due to magic blood, okay. But if he is a prodigy in several subjects (fighting, music, language, sympathy, healing, naming, etc.) with no explanation given other than being a prodigy in just about everything he tries including sex, then it seems extremely improbable. And all of this on top of being extremely good looking as well. Add to that that he just happens to form a friendship at school with several of the brightest and most interesting characters, and it starts to seem over-the-top. Even his skills of acting and memory and math from music can only account for so much.
Never TrustAs for Kvothe being a super sex machine, if this is true then why does his martial arts mentore basically treat him as good but nothing special in that department? I find him to be more a Broken Ace than The Ace because he's just so messed up in many ways.
If it's an authority figure and it's breathing it's guilty
Raven WilderRe: Kvothe being good at everything: It's set up before he begins telling his story that Kvothe is a folk hero; succeeding at everything they set their mind to is a pretty common folk hero quality.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
I think the martial arts mentor just saw sex as perfunctory with him because she did not love him romantically, as a result, she was not interested in the foreplay aspects of it or prolonging the sex. The first time they have sex, she only offers because she notices his erection. She does enjoy one of the techniques (1, 000 hands or something like that) but isn't interested in the sex taking any longer than it has too.
GamemasterI always got the impression when reading that a lot of Kvothe's flaws or arrogance are glossed over in the narrative because he's the one telling the story, and is an Unreliable Narrator who can't quite look at things like objectively. Like when he describes Denna as the most perfectly beautiful thing ever, and Bast is all "Eh, not really."
Without love, it cannot be seen. 
Absolutely no relation to NLKHe doesn't seem the type to embellish his own attributes, though. Others, sure, but not his.
math792d: "If there was a tagline to the Aesir beyond 'war never changes, ' it would be 'alcohol was involved.'"
GamemasterNot so much embellishing his traits, but unable to objectively look back on his experiences and acknowledge some of his flaws, or stop and think " man, I was kind of being a dick there."
Without love, it cannot be seen. 
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